Thursday, August 7, 2008

More than a little rain in Hong Kong

Hi Everyone,

I have now experienced a level 8 typhoon in Hong Kong! It started in the middle of Wednesday night. The wind was incredibly loud and was so strong it was blowing windows and doors open in the hotel! In Hong Kong when the typhoon reaches level 8 the entire city shuts down and everyone stays indoors. Luckily, it passed by mid day, and I headed out to the stables to see how things were there.

The barns are so well built that the horses didn't even know there was a storm outside. I took Toddy for a walk in the indoor just to get him out of his stall because we were not sure we were going to be able to ride that day. When I say the typhoon was over, it doesn't mean the rain stopped. We were still getting complete downpours with fairly strong wind. The organizing crew was as efficient as they have been the entire time we have been here and managed to still hold the show jumping in the main arena that night.

We started the night with our first riders meeting of the competition followed by a course walk to prepare for the night's show jumping. The show jumping began at 7:15pm and the Canadian team jumped at 8:15pm. It was absolutely pouring the entire time, but the footing in the arenas is incredible and stayed perfect. All of our horses jumped great. It was a course of eight fences, and we could just do parts, do the whole course and repeat jumps. The idea was to let the horses jump under the lights in the main arena. Some of the horses also needed to get familiarized with the jumbotron screen which was showing video footage from Athens. It also showed a cartoon, which explained what show jumping is and what the various faults mean. The cartoon really freaked some horses out. For the most part the event horses were not fazed by it, but it definitely upset some of the dressage horses!

We went over to the Bea's river venue this afternoon and looked at the cross-country course. It looks great. It is definitely very challenging. The jumps are all really beautifully built and decorated. There are many accuracy questions as well as bold cross-country questions. I am excited to ride it!

We are going to go back over to the venue tonight to ride in the main arena again. The dressage arena is set up with all of the judges' booths. The eventers are allowed in from 7:30pm - 9pm and the dressage riders have the ring from 9pm - 11pm.

We have the jog up tomorrow afternoon, and then dressage for the eventers starts Saturday morning. It is exciting to be starting the competition!

Talk to you soon,

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